Monday 03 October 2022 – BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR

27th Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Gal 1:6-12

Brothers and sisters: I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than  the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel preached by me is not of human origin. For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Gospel: Lk 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR: For Jesus the question is not “who is a neighbor?” but “who of the three acted as neighbor?” Every person in need is a neighbor but only very few people act as a compassionate neighbor and reach out to him or her.  Neighborliness is the characteristic of a Christian. A Christian does not look at whether one belongs to his clan, race, religion or country. Offering help to others in need makes us more human and turn the world into a family. Who are the ones found on the roadside today who need urgent attention from us? The elders who are neglected and treated as a burden, victims of various kinds of abuse are among them who await for the kind attention of the Good Samaritans. Are we too indifferent or got blinded with less important concerns like the priest and the scribe in the parable?

Prayer: Lord, give me a compassionate heart.

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DOING THE WILL OF GOD: In the first reading, we can clearly see that we cannot run away from doing the Will of God. Jonah tried to avoid going to Nineveh but the ship faced turmoil until he had to accept to be thrown into the sea. He believed that it was because of his disobedience. Even the other passengers believed that Jonah had disobeyed the Will of God. In the Gospel, Jesus commands the scholar of law to ‘Go and do likewise’. Jesus uses the example of the Good Samaritan to demonstrate that we may have duties assigned to us by religion, but the Will of God comes first. He commands us to love God and our neighbors and through this, we shall be doing His will. May we try to grasp the importance of this great teaching.

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WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR? Jesus responds by giving the story of a Samaritan who sees, hears, and moves to act. He reaches out to one who is so abandoned, that even a stranger can identify him so sprawled in a ditch. The Samaritan “…lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him” (Luke 10: 34). This Samaritan was an outsider and familiar with insults; people moving away to avoid contact. It is not a surprise that he knows rejection all too well, and is ready to open his doors to the abandoned; suffering and injustice are real to him. As our moral imagination grows, the situation of those at a distance should become more. When children fleeing from violence show up at our border, we must find ways to help.  God says: you will find me in the poor.  By giving this parable, Jesus invites us to do the same as the Samaritan did. We should never ask who is my neighbour since we are all brothers and sisters in Christ; we have the same Father in heaven.